Catechist, Missionary, Martyr, and Soldier of Christ have been titles associated with the noble deeds of St. Pedro Calungsod, the second Filipino to be declared a saint by the Church.
Pedro --- born in 1654 in the Visayan Province of Cebu, Philippines --- showed a love for Jesus at a young age, and as a teenager traveled far to preach the Good News about God’s saving love. On April 2, 1672, he was martyred in Tumon, Guam, at the hands of the Chamorros, a pagan people who executed anyone who spoke against their deities.
Pope Benedict XVI canonized him on Oct. 21, 2012, and the following year Father John Vianney, pastor of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish in Montebello, commissioned the local Filipino community to present a plan for a shrine to be erected in honor of the young saint.
The decision to commission the monument by the OLMM community was an easy one, owing to the saint’s strong eucharistic and Marian devotion and the parish's patronage of the Blessed Mother. That, said Father Vianney, “married perfectly with the divine inspiration that St. Pedro Calungsod lived and died for."
Through the generosity of several benefactors, a three-foot statue of the saint --- designed and constructed by Willie Gonzales --- is now enshrined in a grotto with water flowing down from the top, which symbolizes the living water of Christ.
On May 25, a dedication Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, with Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Solis presiding and Fathers Vianney and Michael Meyer, associate pastor, concelebrating. As Bishop Solis incensed the image, the choir sang a traditional hymn in honor of the saint in Cebuano, the native dialect of his home.
“The Shrine of St. Pedro Calungsod will serve as an inspiration for our youth to open their hearts to become bearers of light to the world,” Father Vianney said.